New Roderick Mack Art and the Summer 2014 Anime Season

beautiful-lie-painful-truth

Roderick Mack, You are a beautiful lie, And I am the painful truth, 2014

You need a bit of Tokyo in your life. Phoenix artist Roderick Mack brings the feeling of the metropolis through canvas portals which explore the dark and abstract with the stylized girls prominent in his work. The illustrative, watercolor style of You are a beautiful lie, And I am the painful truth blends nature and grit like a Shinjuku alley in a forest.

Roderick Mack, Untitled, 2014

Roderick Mack, Untitled, 2014

Untitled layers beauty between colorful chaos and perfect white city lights splatter. Need more Tokyo atmosphere? Perfect timing.

The Summer 2014 anime season kicked off two weeks ago with quality series sans giant robots and high school love stories. Hamatora is one such show where a psuedo detective agency fights mutants in Yokohama. Frequent interstitials of cityscapes and building shots make a character of the city, and dark humor bleeds throughout.

Rail Wars! is another worthy series and it’s over the top, innocent densha fun. Think You’re Under Arrest with trains.

View Roderick Mack’s art on his Facebook page and in Phoenix galleries. The Summer 2014 anime season is simulcasting on Crunchyroll now.

6 1/2 Hours of Quality Movies Tonight at FilmBar

Raiders of the Lost Ark. 7:30 pm, $9. Drops mouse.

Zach Braff tackles the exponentially expanding art and industry of video games in the documentary, Video Games: The Movie. Pre-2600 to the latest VR, Braff combines innovator and celebrity interviews to tell the story of the largest media phenomenon in human history. After books. 10 pm, $9.

Tokusatsu Theater is a gem of Phoenix. It’s the Godzilla matinee we’ve wanted since childhood, except now it’s awake when we are. Tonight at midnight, see Kamen Rider ZX, Agon the Atomic Dragon, and Ultraman. 11:55 pm, $9.

Have a brownie, take the light rail, and enjoy the shit out of this movie marathon.

Highway 89: The Most Terrifying And/Or Beautiful Stretch Of Road In AZ

Courtesy of PBS

I have nightmares. In these nightmares, I am often on top of large buildings as they begin to sway, or I am driving and come around a curve to see that I’m about to drop hundreds of feet. This past weekend, while taking the ‘scenic’ route home from a trip up to Prescott, my nightmares leaked into reality while leaving the town of Yarnell.

Leaving Prescott, 89 is just a beautiful, curvy, forest road. Winding through some cliffs and trees, overall a nice drive. Now, to clarify, I have vision issues with heights. Looking over a huge cliff makes me feel as if I am falling; looking up at a huge building can sometimes make me dizzy even on the ground. It’s not so much that I am ‘scared of heights’ as much as things in large scale make me feel physically unwell. That being said, I can manage most normal things. The drive up north on the I-17 features some windy cliff parts that barely faze me. The beginning of 89 south was a little tense, but nothing I couldn’t just power through by thinking of old Simpsons jokes to stay un-clenched.

Then you pass through Yarnell, a town most of us wouldn’t even know except for last years tragic loss of their elite ‘hotshot’ firefighter crew. A quiet place with sweeping farms and views for miles, it takes the length of one good long song on the stereo to get through. This small town sits right on the edge of the high desert, somewhere around 4,800 feet. When you hit the end, you don’t know it yet, but you just left the station on a nightmare coaster in your car that doesn’t end until the town of Congress, at an elevation of 3,050 feet. Oh boy.

This video starts just before the reality of the situation hits you…as you can see at the :30 mark, the different lanes split off and there’s no turning back. You are about to make a drive that is the equivalent of driving off of the roof of the old World Trade Centers onto a one lane ramp that twists around the entire building. On one side, you are mere feet from a 1/3 mile drop. This video, while illustrating the path, does not do justice to the horrible majesty of this road. It IS beautiful. It is also the worst drive I have made all year. Vision shifting, heart pounding, knuckles gripped to the wheel of my wife’s little car…I made it through. Supposedly it is only 10 minutes, but I am relatively sure it took me about 3 hours of adjusted panic-time dilation. For better or worse, this stretch of road gives you an unparalleled sense of scope of just how large and beautiful the desert is. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you.

 

Chizona’s Pizza Is the Best Thin Crust in PHX

Chizona's Pizza

Chizona’s Pizza

I’ve been a fan of Chicago thin crust pizza since Fuzzy’s on 63rd, all the way back to Gino’s on Thomas. Now that I think about it, it’s my favorite kind of pizza. Thin, greasy, not too cheesy, cut into little squares.

I was super happy then when we checked out Chizona’s Pizza, on McDonald west of Pima, after the lunch rush on a weekday. We were the only patrons there and the place oozed chubby Chicago sports fan. The missus ordered a Polish dog with fries, and I ordered the 1-topping slice special.

Polish Dog with Fries

Polish dog with fries

The dog was delightfully greasy, covered with Chicago style toppings and whiz. The fries were perfectly golden and crunchy, the crispity crunch as it were. The amount of fries was unreal, which was nice as they just eeked out the dog as her favorite, noting she’s not a huge fan of dogs.

A 'slice'

A ‘slice’

The slice special is special because a slice is a quarter of a pizza. Thin crust pizza, but a quarter nonetheless. I ordered pepperoni, the litmus topping. It was heaven.

Like the dog, it was tastefully greasy, nowhere near the epic grease drippers of the aforementioned joints. The crust was thin, crispy. The sauce was assertively spicy. The cheese in perfect amount, every slice the consistency of the first. I can’t remember the peperoni because everything else about the pizza was so good.

I want a basket of these

A basket of these, please

And then those damn, dirty little corners. I want a plate of them at least once in my life.

Yeah, it’s kind of out of the way. But if you’re anywhere close, like, say, going to Butterfly Wonderland, stop by Chizona’s and grab a slice.